Seasons of Ceremonies: Rites and Rituals in Guatemala and Mexico

 Peyton Wright Gallery is pleased to announce a book signing, exhibition on November 19, 2021, from 3-7 PM to celebrate the launch of William Frej’s new book, Seasons of Ceremonies: Rites and Rituals in Guatemala and Mexico, published by the Museum of New Mexico Press. In addition to the book launch, Peyton Wright Gallery will host an exhibition of 23 compelling black and white photographic images from his new book. Mr. Frej will also give a talk on his work on Saturday, November 20 from 1-3pm. The exhibition concludes January 10, 2022

     In Mesoamerican villages and towns, a calendar of rites and rituals takes place throughout the year. As documented by the photos in this book, there are beliefs and world views underlying these complex and profound activities, which are done as an essential way of creating connections to the natural forces of the universe. Ritual actors and natural objects are not just symbolic representations, they embody a force of life. Ceremonies such as the ones illustrated in Frej’s book, not only unite communities, and celebrate the seasons of the year, but they also help to ensure harmony and health now and for future generations. These are elaborate, multilayered affairs involving entire communities. At the most visible, public level, it is the traditional clothing, the dances, and the elaborate processions that grab your attention. But below the surface, these are carefully staged events with clearly defined roles and profound meanings.

     In this book of photographs and in the images in this gallery exhibition, Frej’s photography, illuminates indigenous rites and rituals in compelling imagery. Starting with the early December celebrations of the Virgin Mary in Mexico’s Yucatán, the book chronicles feast days of patron saints in Chiapas, Mexico and Rabinal, Guatemala; the Carnival celebrations before Lent; Holy Week before Easter; and finally, the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, Mexico. Thirteen ceremonies are chronicled. Three of these-the Masked Dance of Abraham and Isaac, in Yucatan, Mexico; the Puáaxku jitsé, in Santa Teresa, Nayarit, Mexico; and the Achí masked drama in Rabinal, in the highlands of Guatemala-are singular events unlike any others. This book, and the accompanying exhibition, is a captivating visual record of the rich, still-alive traditions in Guatemala and Mexico, conveyed through striking black and white photography.

View the exhibition catalog here